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More Fuel for the Uber Dumpster Fire: California Investigates Otto Self-Driving Trucks

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

Man, lately Uber seems to be like a regional waste management facility—catching crap from all directions. If it isn’t its drivers demanding a higher wage, it is boycotts thanks to the company essentially working to break the New York Taxi strike over the president’s immigration ban; or it’s being sued by Google for allegedly stealing its self-driving car technology; or it’s the company’s self-driving vehicles running red lights.

 

It’s really no wonder why a bunch of the company’s engineers are jumping ship.

Next to that blazing bonfire of bad things, it hardly seems like much of an addition to the flames that Uber’s self-driving truck unit, Otto, is now under investigation by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, because the California DMV suspects that may have been lying to them about just how “semi” their “semi-autonomous” trucks are.

You see, in California, it is illegal to test fully-autonomous vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds. Otto told the DMV that its Otto trucks are only semi-autonomous, and require driver input.

So clearly, the idea that they were being lied to concerns the California DMV greatly.

Suspicions stem from an uncovered internal document from Otto, published back in February, which explained how the truck self-driving system worked and was intended for officials in Colorado. This is at odds with what Otto explained to the DMV, so the DMV is taking the classic suspicious-principal technique of a random inspection. However, rather than looking for a bag of drugs in the sleepy-eyed kid’s locker, the DMV will be checking out the company’s trucks’ capabilities in person.

If the DMV representatives decide that the trucks are more autonomous than semi-autonomous, bad things are sure to come for Otto, and by extension, Uber.

News Sources: Jalopnik, Forbes

  • Sergey

    Looks like everybody wants to punch a lying Otto. The Lewandovski case, and now California state… Yes the buying Otto has brought Uber more trouble than profit. Still if they concentrate on their Freight dept, they can still disrupt the trucking industry. Well it seems possible even knowing, that there are some competitors like Doft or Trucker Path.